OCTOBER 9, 2020 — UTSA continues to see growth in its online degree programs. Currently there are 340 students enrolled in these fully online degree programs, which is an increase of 66% over last year’s enrollment. Growth is expected to continue in the spring, when a new degree program will be added.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s current disruption of education around the world demonstrates the value that comes from the flexibility of online courses.
“The pandemic has shined a blinding light on the need for online courses and the fact that online courses can be taught at the level of traditional courses,” said Suzana Diaz Rosencrans, assistant vice provost for online programs. “You don’t have to sacrifice quality to do that. I see the pandemic accelerating the timeline of online degrees offered.”
Not to be confused with the high percentage of courses currently being offered online at UTSA in response to the pandemic, the university’s online degree programs are designed to be 100% online.
“The pandemic has shined a blinding light on the need for online courses.”
Suzana Diaz Rosencrans talks about her role at UTSA, the challenges posed by the pandemic, and more.
UTSA currently offers undergraduates two online degree programs: cybersecurity and multidisciplinary studies. UTSA’s online cybersecurity B.B.A. program allows students to build a general knowledge of business alongside highly marketable cybersecurity skills. In December 2019 Intelligent.com, an independent leader in coverage of education advancement, ranked the program first overall in the state of Texas and first in the nation in providing academic support for students pursuing a cybersecurity degree online. The online multidisciplinary studies degree offers flexibility by allowing students to develop a degree plan tailored specifically to their academic and career goals. The program offers four focus areas: sociology, communication, business and health.
A third program will come online in the spring, when UTSA will begin offering a 100% online B.A. in communication.
“We really want to encourage students to come back and finish their degrees,” Rosencrans said. “With the multidisciplinary degree and the communication degree, we want to target students who didn’t know what they wanted to do their first time around, or had to leave because of family obligations. We’re poised to support students who stopped, but now can hopefully come back and finish their degree, attaining their educational goals while balancing their personal life and work life.”
Students enrolled in UTSA’s online degree programs tend to be older on average than students taking traditional classes. This fall, 57% of these students are 28 or older. While nearly 50% of online students come from Bexar County, the others come from across the state of Texas, with 4% of students coming from out of state.
Rosencrans sees these numbers as evidence that UTSA’s online degree programs are allowing the university to provide a quality education to a broader range of people.
“I think as a department we really understand the sanctity of public education in this nation,” she said. “Being part of a dynamic, Hispanic Serving Institution, we genuinely feel that providing online education is our small part in helping our institution make good on its promise of accessibility and affordability.”
In addition to the online undergraduate degree programs, UTSA offers an online graduate certificate in facilities management, which is designed to equip individuals with advanced knowledge and specialized skills to make an immediate impact in the global industry of facilities management.